WPSU’s ‘Higher Education in Focus’ to discuss Penn State admissions process

WPSU Higher Education in Focus

WPSU Penn State’s “Higher Education in Focus” will air at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, on WPSU-TV and WPSU-FM.

An inside look at Penn State’s admissions process is the subject of tonight’s episode of Penn State President Eric Barron’s “Higher Education in Focus” program being broadcast on  WPSU-TV and WPSU-FM.

The episode titled “Taking the Mystery out of Admissions” will air at 8 p.m. on WPSU-TV and WPSU-FM.

Barron’s guests include Clark Brigger, executive director of undergraduate admissions; Mitch Kirsch, associate dean for student affairs for Schreyer Honors College; and Bert McBrayer, associate director of admissions operations. The group will outline the various stages of the University’s admissions process, including rolling admission deadlines, post-application steps and applicant evaluation. Penn State receives more than 60,000 first-year student applications.

Tonight’s broadcast will be archived and available online at wpsu.org/infocus.

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Diverse group of universities form coalition to improve college admission process

coalition-verticalGoal is to recast admission process, broaden access, and encourage college-going mindset for all students

Penn State is joining a diverse coalition of public and private colleges and universities with the goal of improving the college admission application process for all students.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is developing a free platform of online tools to streamline the experience of planning for and applying to college. The planning tools will be available to high school ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students beginning in January 2016.

Coalition member institutions hope to recast the college admission process into to a more engaged, ongoing and educationally positive experience. They also hope to motivate a stronger college-going mindset among students of all backgrounds, especially those from low-income families or underrepresented groups that have historically had less access to leading colleges and universities.

“Through our membership in the Coalition, we will engage students in the college search process earlier, giving students and families much more time to be thoughtful in their search for educational opportunities after high school,” said Clark Brigger, Penn State’s Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions.  “In addition, the new Coalition is founded upon the principles of access, affordability and success, which seem to perfectly align with Penn State’s mission.”

The Coalition currently includes more than 80 public and private universities and colleges across the United States that have made a commitment to make college affordable and accessible for students from diverse backgrounds, and for students to be successful in completing their education. The Coalition, which continues to add members, will work over the next few months to develop tools and processes that are intended to lower many of the barriers that prevent students from attending college or successfully earning a degree.

“The college admission process today can be stress-inducing and we know it can present barriers for all students, especially for those who are the first in their family to attend college,” said Zina L. Evans, vice president for enrollment management at the University of Florida.

“The schools in the Coalition have individually tried many different and creative approaches to address these challenges,” said Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale University. “We have come to the conclusion that we can have a much bigger impact on student access and completion if we work together.”

Later this year, the Coalition will share details about new college planning and application tools that will streamline the admission and financial aid processes and allow students to begin planning for college much earlier in their high school years. The online tools—which will include a digital portfolio, a collaboration platform, and an application portal—seek to reshape the process of applying to college as the culmination of students’ development over the course of their high school careers, reducing the unfamiliarity of the application and leveling the playing field for all students. The application will add another option to all the ways that students currently apply for college. Many Coalition schools will accept applications through the portal in the summer of 2016.

“Starting to think about college earlier reduces some of the pressure of the application process, but more importantly, it sets the expectation that students should aspire to attend college,” said Seth Allen, vice president and dean of admissions at Pomona College. “There are so many talented students who should aim for a great school, but they often don’t understand the path to get there.”

For example, research has found that students from disadvantaged backgrounds often do not participate effectively in the college application process, struggle with applying for financial aid, and often do not get awarded all the financial aid they qualify for. As a result, even the most highly qualified students either do not attend college, attend a college that does not engage their full potential, or do not complete their degrees. Attending a high school with a college-going culture greatly increases students’ college success.

The Coalition hopes to address these findings through its free online tools and increased transparency around admissions and financial aid.

“The fact that some highly motivated and well prepared students do not apply to and enroll in the college they are best suited for is a persistent problem,” said Barbara Gill, associate vice president for enrollment management at the University of Maryland. “This Coalition is working to mitigate this problem by empowering students from disadvantaged backgrounds to immediately identify a diverse set of schools that are likely to provide considerable financial support and will invest in their academic success.”

Members of the Coalition include a diverse group of public universities that have affordable tuition along with need-based financial aid for in-state residents, and private colleges and universities that provide sufficient financial aid to meet the full, demonstrated financial need of every domestic student they admit. Coalition schools graduate at least 70 percent of their students within six years, with many having much higher graduation rates.

“Coalition schools offer students incredible choice in location, size, selectivity, and mission, but we all share a commitment that the students we admit can afford to attend and will have a high likelihood of graduating,” said James G. Nondorf, vice president for enrollment at the University of Chicago. “That should give students confidence that college is within their reach, and that they can be successful. We hope this effort will ultimately be successful in persuading many more students to aim for college and help ensure that they are prepared to do so.”

The Coalition’s online portfolio of college planning tools will be open to high school students starting in January 2016. Additional details about the application process enabled by the platform will be announced before summer of 2016. More information can be found at coalitionforcollegeaccess.org.

Coalition Member Institutions
Amherst College
Bates College
Bowdoin College
Brown University
Bryn Mawr College
California Institute of Technology
Carleton College
Clemson University
Colby College
Colgate University
College of Holy Cross
College of William & Mary
Colorado College
Columbia University
Connecticut College
Cornell University
Dartmouth College
Davidson College
Duke University
Emory University
Franklin and Marshall College
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Grinnell College
Hamilton College
Harvard University
Haverford College
Illinois State University
Indiana University – Bloomington
James Madison University
Johns Hopkins University
Miami University – Ohio
Michigan State University
Middlebury College
Mount Holyoke College
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Northeastern University
Northwestern University
Oberlin College
Ohio State University
Penn State
Pomona College
Princeton University
Purdue University
Reed College
Rice University
Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Skidmore College
Smith College
St Olaf College
Stanford University
State University of New York – College at Geneseo
State University of New York – University at BuffaloSwarthmore College
Texas A&M University
Tufts University
Union College”
University of Chicago
University of Connecticut
University of Florida
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Maryland – College Park
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
University of Missouri
University of New Hampshire
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of Rochester
University of South Carolina
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
University of Washington
Vanderbilt University
Vassar College
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Washington University in St. Louis
Wellesley College
Wesleyan University
Williams College
Yale University


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The time to apply to Penn State is NOW!


The Penn State fall/summer 2016 application is now available on our website. If you have not created a MyPennState profile yet, you will need to do so before you can log in and start the application.

Here are some helpful hints for applying to Penn State:

  • Penn State has its own application – we do not use the Common Application.
  • Review the Admissions Requirements, Dates & Deadlines, and Steps to Apply on the website for details about your application and the admissions process.
  • You can save your work and return to the application at a later time.
  • The online application is just the first part of the process – be sure to send us all of the required materials to complete your application. Transcripts must be sent directly from your high school, and test scores must be sent from the College Board or ACT Testing Service.
  • After submitting the application, check your MyPennState often. There, we will let you know if we are missing any pieces of your application, give you status updates of where your application is throughout the review process, and ultimately alert you of your admission decision.
  • November 30 is our priority filing date. If we have your complete application (official high school transcript, official SAT/ACT scores, and online application) by November 30, you maximize your chances of receiving a Penn State offer of admission to your first choice campus, major, and start term. We also guarantee that you will have a decision no later than January 31.

Got questions? Contact us or Ask the Lion!

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Student Post: Summer Internships

This summer, thousands of Penn Staters are completing internships to gain valuable experience that will supplement what they learn in the classroom during the school year. Yari Acquino, one of our Lion Life interns last semester, is interning at a public relations firm in Miami this summer and took some time to share her experience so far:

Summer is here and although I was sad to leave Happy Valley, I could not be more excited to work in my first public relations agency as an intern all summer.

So far the experience has been priceless, which it often has to be for an unpaid intern such as myself. It’s really true when they say that hands-on experience is just as important as learning in the classroom. Through this internship, I have realized that what they teach us in class sets the foundation for what you learn when you are in the real world.

On my first day I could not have been more nervous, but that quickly eased up when I

Yari Acquino, left, is completing a public relations internship in Miami this summer.

Yari Acquino, left, is completing a public relations internship in Miami this summer.

realized how helpful and willing to teach my superiors were. I never felt like I couldn’t ask a question or like they expected me to already know how to do everything. My boss even sat down with me and went down a list of what my duties would be and explained each thoroughly.

On a daily basis, I write a variety of press releases and send them out to media outlets. I send so many emails a day that Gmail has even locked me out for reaching their limit! I also monitor the media to see if our clients have been mentioned in any new articles or to see if there is any news that we can form a press release around. I love having my own desk because it makes me feel like an actual employee. I have never had to run out and get coffee; actually my boss is so kind that she often buys us coffee when she gets some herself.

The craziest part of entering the real world to me was that now if I messed something up it doesn’t just get me a bad grade, now it actually matters and affects others. This is one of the things I liked most because it feels like you’re actually valuable to the company, not just a student.

I found this internship through Penn State Career Services. I was between this one and another in New York City, but when I weighed one against the other I realized this one was a better fit. When deciding on an internship, you really want to take into consideration which one will give you the most experience. This one requires me to work on real public relations tasks every day. The other one I was considering included duties such as “watering plants” and was only three days a week, but it was with a bigger company. I chose the first one, because I knew this is where I would learn the most.

To end this post I just want to say that as cliché as it sounds, the advice everyone is constantly giving you is true: Every internship is what you make of it. If you go and just do the minimum work, you will get through it but you won’t gain anything in the long run.

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Congratulations Penn State Class of 2019!

Ace high school finals, check.Congrats Grad!

Last day of high school – EVER, check.

Cap and gown, check.

Friends and family cheering when crossing the graduation stage, check.

High school diploma, check.

Get pumped for Penn State, double triple check.

YOU DID IT! You are graduating from high school and ready to start writing the next chapter of your life at Penn State, and we’re so excited for you! We know how hard you’ve worked to make the most of high school and reach this point of success and we, and of course your parents, could NOT be prouder.

Take a moment to soak it all in, and when people ask where you’re going to college, say “Penn State” with a big ol’ smile because you’ve earned it!

Share your graduation photos with us using #PSU2019. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Get ready to Spend a Summer Day

Image Credit: www.decronproperties.com

Image Credit: www.decronproperties.com

Ahhh, the end of the school year is near! We know you are so busy with your end-of-year commitments that you may not even have time to think about what comes after, but let us remind you: SUMMER VACATION!

We know that students’ summer plans are full of many things–work, practice, volunteering, vacations, and … college visits. As you are looking at your calendar, deciding where you might have time to fit in a college visit, think about Spend a Summer Day at Penn State!

Spend a Summer Day is the open house visit program for prospective students, with events happening at all 20 of Penn State’s campuses throughout the summer. At these events, you will get to tour campus and learn about academics, club and organizations, and so much more! Please visit sasd.psu.edu to check our schedule and to register for Spend a Summer Day!

We encourage you to visit multiple Penn State campuses this summer to learn more about each campus, as each are unique in size, location, and offerings. Should you be interested in attending Spend a Summer Day at University Park, the event dates are as follows:

  • Friday, July 24 at 8:00 a.m.
  • Monday, July 27 at 8:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, July 30 at 8:00 a.m.
  • Friday, July 31 at 8:00 a.m.
  • Monday, August 3 at 8:00 a.m.

Wherever your summer plans may take you, we hope it includes a visit to Penn State for Spend a Summer Day! But rest assured–if the above dates don’t work for you, visit our website to schedule a visit to campus on another day.

Best of luck with the end of your school year–you are in the home stretch!

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Penn State Class of 2019 – You have big shoes to fill


Penn State is buzzing with soon-to-be graduates that are soaking up their last few moments of college life while looking ahead to careers, research opportunities, or graduate school. Much like you Penn State Class of 2019, our Penn State seniors have a lot to look forward to as they embark on a new chapter of their lives.

But before we send our seniors across the stage, here are just a few of Penn State’s Class of 2015 accomplishments:

$45.8 Million: The Penn State Class of 2015 helped raise over $45.8 million for THON over their four years at Penn State.

13,381 Diplomas: This weekend, Penn State expects to award approximately 13,381 diplomas to students University-wide who are completing 433 associate, 10,916 baccalaureate, 1,437 master’s, 202 law, 262 doctoral and 131 medical degrees.

Go Green: The Class of 2015’s gift will by a solar panel array to help Penn State reach its goal to reduce building energy use by 20 percent over the next decade.

450 Scholars: Schreyer Honors College will graduate more than 450 scholars. Scholar Katherine Rhodes will speak at the college’s commencement ceremony with the highest grade point average among the college’s spring graduates.

Six NCAA National Team Championships: Wrestling, women’s volleyball, and fencing hoisted a national championship trophy during the Penn State Class of 2015’s tenure. Wrestling won the NCAA crown in 2012, 2013, and 2014, while women’s volleyball captured the 2013 and 2014 title, and fencing won the 2014 national title.

So #PSU2019, what will you accomplish at Penn State?

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#ReachHigher #PSU2019 – Friday is National College Signing Day!





As part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher campaign, an educational initiative working to inspire every student in America to pursue education after high school, we want you to show the WORLD that you’re joining the Penn State family on Friday, because it’s National College Signing Day!

Snap a picture of you sporting your Penn State gear and holding one of our custom Penn State signs (download above) and post it on Twitter and/or Instagram.

Better yet, shoot a quick video and tell us why you chose Penn State to help you reach higher in your education. Be sure to include #ReachHigher and #PSU2019 in your post.

We’re going to be celebrating your Penn State choice all day long right here with a gallery of YOUR photos and we will also be sharing them via our Twitter and Instagram.

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DEADLINE: May 1 is National College Decision Day

May 1 Decision DayWe’re only a few short days away from May 1, the national deadline for you to let us know where you’ll be attending college next year. Fingers crossed you pick Penn State!

Choosing a college is a HUGE decision, and being nervous that you’re making the right choice is completely understandable. Here are some reasons why you should click that big red “click here to accept your offer of admission” button in your MyPennState account:

  1. 631,000 Alumni – Yep, that’s a big alumni network, and the Penn State Alumni Association is the largest in the country with over 174,000 members. This network will certainly help when it comes time to look for an internship and/or job. LEARN MORE
  2. Career Services – Speaking of job search, the Penn State Career Services Office ranks amongst the top five in the nation and hosts some of the largest career fairs on the East Coast. LEARN MORE
  3. Research – $800 million flows into the University for research annually, and undergraduate students are highly encouraged across all disciplines to get involved. RESEARCH NEWS
  4. 1,200 Clubs & Organizations – With so many organizations and clubs to be a part of, you’ll never be bored! Oh, and Penn State’s THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Just this year, THON raised over $13 million in the fight against pediatric cancer. WATCH
  5. 160+ majors – With over 160 majors to choose from, you’re guaranteed to the find the major that fits you, and the best part is you won’t have to figure it out alone. Every Penn State student is assigned an academic adviser to help them navigate their academic careers. LIST OF MAJORS

Not quite convinced? Read these testimonials from the PSU Admissions Social Media Interns:

Nicole Schneidman shared why she chose to be a Nittany Lion.

Niccia Griffin-McKinney shared her experience as a 2+2 student starting at Mont Alto and finishing her degree at University Park.

Sophia Fox shared what it was like for her picking between three colleges.

Yarianne Marie Aquino shared her experiences transitioning from Puerto Rico to University Park.

If you accept your Penn State offer, share your excitement with us using #psu2019 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! If you feel like you need some more time to make your college decision contact us at admissions@psu.edu.

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Plan Your Blue-White Weekend!

Photo Credit: Penn State Athletics

Photo Credit: Penn State Athletics

Come spend April 17-19 at Penn State, just don’t forget to wear your blue and white, because it’s BLUE-WHITE WEEKEND!

Blue-White Weekend, an annual Penn State celebration centered on Penn State football’s Blue-White Game presented by AAA, will be held from April 17-19. Festivities, such as Penn State football’s game day Totino’s Fan Festival, Blue-White Family Fun Zone, and the 6th Annual Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run/Walk, are scheduled throughout the weekend and promise to give all attendees the opportunity to have some fun while showing off their Penn State pride. Full event schedule

To get a jump-start on planning your weekend trip to PSU, visit www.visitpennstate.org for a complete overview of State College’s accommodations, restaurants and activities.

Blue-White Game – Saturday, April 18:

Admission and parking for the Blue-White Game presented by AAA is FREE.

Penn State quaterback Christian Hackenberg signs autographs at the 2014 Blue-White Game

Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg signs autographs at the 2014 Blue-White Game – Photo Credit: Penn State Athletics

  • 12:45 p.m. – Team blue bus arrival to Beaver Stadium at the corner of Curtin and Porter Roads.
  • 1:15-2 p.m. – Team autograph session in Beaver Stadium. The athletes will be permitted to sign one item per person to give as many fans the opportunity to meet the players.
  • 4:00 p.m. – Kickoff

Beaver Stadium gates A & B open at 1 p.m. and all other gates open at 2:30 p.m.

Last year, an estimated 72,000 fans attend the Blue-White Game! The Blue-White Game has drawn more than 50,000 fans in six of the past eight years, including three consecutive crowds above 70,000!

What else is going on?

Friday – April 17

  • Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra – Old Main Lawn – 6:30 p.m.

Enjoy the beautiful sounds of this ninety-member philharmonic orchestra that has performed throughout the northeastern United States, including concerts at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and the MENC Eastern Division Conference in Baltimore. Learn more

  • Penn State School of Theatre Performance of Julius Caesar – Old Main Lawn – 7:45 p.m.

Staged on the steps of Old Main, this production will be set in a contemporary African nation (“Rome”) in order to draw parallels between modern African dictatorships and Shakespeare’s Roman Republic of 44 B.C. under the dictatorship of Julius Caesar. Learn more

Saturday – April 18

  • Blue-White Family Fun Zone – Holuba Hall – 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

This event is FREE and open to the public. The Family Fun Zone features live entertainment, food and beverages, merchandise, game stations run by Penn State teams, and much more!

  • Totino’s Fan Festival – Curtin Road – 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Penn State football’s official game day fan festival features numerous displays, vendors and interactive events for kids.

Sunday – April 19

  • Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run/Walk – Start: BJC End: 50-yardline Beaver Stadium – 7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

In its sixth year, the Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run/Walk benefits Special Olympics Pennsylvania. It is a three mile run and one mile walk open to all ages and abilities. More than 4,000 people participated last year to help raise more than $400,000! Sign up

  • Ellen Perry Speaker Series: Women In Sport – The Modern Years – Nittany Lion Inn – 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the Penn State All-Sports Museum, the Women In Sport – The Modern Years discussion will center on women working and participating in athletics.


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